Koen Timmers teaching refugee childrens & breaking boundaries for Education

How many people are living their life for others and in fact for the marginalized sections of this world. Like refugees from Africa or so to say any other community which is equally ignored by the rest of this world. Today Koen Timmers who’s a Computer Science teacher in Belgium running school for refugee kids through Skype.  He’ been shortlisted for the $1M Global Teacher Prize 2018 by the Varkey Foundation.

Who’s Koen Timmers 

Koen is passionate about inspiring people through teaching and this has led him to found more than one innovative project that has made a big difference beyond his immediate school teaching. Koen teaches Computer Science in a Belgian school but has also created. Project Kakuma, an initiative in which more than 100 global educators teach African refugees via Skype. This began when he started to teach refugee students via Skype himself, finding sponsors to host the calls and even sending his own equipment to the refugee camp. He also founded the largest educational website in Belgium, zelfstudie.be, which offers more than 60 digital courses, supporting 19,500 online students – many of whom are teachers themselves.

Koen’s Awards and Approach 

Koen uses a specific educational approach that he calls CARE! (Collaboration, Guidance, Real problem-solving, Empathy, and the ! factor’ – being responsive to the student). The results in his school have been pronounced, with more than 75% of his students finding employment in web design within a year of leaving. Koen has presented his vision of teaching to the national government and has also received numerous awards including the Microsoft Education Fellowship and the Toshiba DigiStudent award – for creating an educational app the allows people to identify trees. He speaks on computer science education all over the world and has also written four books on the subject.


If awarded the prize, Koen would use the funds to secure the future of the Kakuma Project, equipping 600 classrooms with desks, and schools with power generators and laptops. In the long term, Koen would like to widen this approach to other refugee camps too.


Global Teacher Prize

Global Teacher Prize is fast becoming recognized as the ‘Noble Prize of Teaching’.  Check the other finalist here. 

This award, already in its fourth edition, awards 1 million dollars and has the objective of recreating the exemplary task of millions of educators around the world.

The Global Teacher Prize, known as the Nobel Prize for Education, is an award created to recognize the outstanding contribution of the most outstanding teacher of the year to the profession and to underline the importance of the role of teachers in society.

Bill Gates paid a valuable tribute to the work of teachers around the world. "When you think about what drives progress and development in the world, education is a key factor, which opens up many opportunities for countless people and societies. Research has shown that having a great teacher can become the most important element that determines when a student receives a good education."

"The finalists have been selected based on a set of rigorous criteria, including the demonstrated effectiveness in inspiring their students and helping them learn." He added further.


Read More, inspirational stories from all over the world at BEYOND TEACHING.